When I first walked into the ABC Brisbane newsroom, I must admit it was slightly daunting. The whole floor was wall-to-wall with busy journalists, and the editors, subs and exec producers were mixed right in. It was hard to know who was who. Who did I report to? Who did I ask questions of? In the end, I just started asking questions of anyone and everyone who happened to catch my eye. And poor them; I had lots of questions. Who are you? What do you do? Where does this go? How do I do that? What do I push to record? How do I transfer a call to the booth? How long do you make grabs here? What do you mean you say August 20, not August 20th? Who the heck is this person giving the presser you’re sending me to? And on and on.
It always takes time to get used to the processes of a new newsroom, and when you’re in a different country it adds another layer of unfamiliarity. It just meant I had to do more background research on every story I wrote and I had to ask a lot of questions most locals would definitely qualify as “silly.” But, when you’re still learning about local politics and you don’t have much of a background understanding of Queensland events and history the “silly” questions don’t seem so silly afterall.
My first day, without much of an induction into the newsroom, I was sent to Campbell Newman’s cabinet presser. I wasn’t alone thankfully or I wouldn’t have known where to go. It was the first time I’d been to the Queensland Parliament. After the fact I was learning how to use the editing software (different from the programs I’ve used back home). So I was pulling clips and grabs for the staff jouros and working on my own version of the story as well. Overall, a good kick-off to my time with the ABC.
The next day was anticlimactic; it was a super slow news day and there wasn’t much going on. But it picked up again the following week when I headed to the university to see how they conducted brain research on rats. I got to see an anesthetized rat undergoing brain surgery, which was pretty neat but also made me question the ethics of the whole process. But that’s a whole different story so I won’t go there today!